Post a Man of the Series winning- performance in the ODIs against England and a decent enough run — leading Uttar Pradesh — in the Ranji Trophy, Raina was confident of fulfilling his dream of returning to the Indian Test team.
The fact that Yuvraj Singh failed to cement the number six spot, despite a long run, convinced most observers that Raina would indeed earn a call- up to the Test team for the series against Australia.
Raina, too, would have thought that his recent success in the ODI series — especially in bowlerfriendly conditions in Dharamsala — against a quality England pace attack would have convinced the selectors about the improvement in his technique.
He further went on to register scores of 134 and 71 in the Irani Cup — considered a platform to impress the five wise men one last time ahead of the selection meeting — and would have thought that he had done enough to merit a call- up.
But that was not to be as the selectors decided he still wasn’t good enough for the longest format of the game.
Speaking to Mail Today on Monday, the otherwise jolly Raina seemed disheartened and a bit short of words as he couldn’t seem to understand the reason behind his omission.
“ I am hurt. I was hoping to make the cut this time round and don’t know what was lacking. I have even been working on my bowling and felt that it would add to my utility as being multifaceted helps. But I shall keep working on my game and come back stronger,” he said.
Raina felt that he was hitting the ball really well and his eagerness to get into the Test squad was what helped him score consistently in the ODI series against England.
“ The determination to make the cut for the Test squad was the reason why I was able to score heavily against England. Obviously I was a little disappointed that I didn’t convert one of the fifties into a three- figure knock. As a result I was more eager to score a century in the Irani Cup,” he said.
Earlier, his failure to impress with the bat in the two Tests against New Zealand cost Raina his place in the side for the England series. But the left- hander is not one to be easily disheartened, and took the decision in his stride and turned to domestic cricket to rectify the flaws in his batting.
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Raina said that knowing the requirement of scoring big hundreds in the longest format of the game, he too had changed his approach to the game.
“ I believe it isn’t just about scoring hundreds. You need to score big hundreds as that makes you mentally tough and ready for the challenges faced in the Test arena. I have done it in the past in first- class cricket and that has been my objective even this season,” he said.
Raina was pretty confident of making the Test team and had said that given an opportunity, he would prove himself worthy of a spot. But that dream will have to wait now that the selectors don’t seem to think he is ready for another go at the Test level.